January 28, 2023

This is How Grief Rewires the Brain

We all experience grief and most likely have already felt it at some point in our life – it’s a natural part of life.

It's important to know that how we deal and cope with grief differs from person to person.

It can definitely be overwhelming, heartbreaking, and confusing at the same time. Grief, especially because of the death of a loved one can be especially difficult to navigate.

In this article, we share what exactly happens to a person’s brain when they experience grief.

"Grief is itself a medicine" - William Cowper

What happens to One’s Brain When Experiencing Grief?

After experiencing trauma, you may notice a lot of changes in your mental, emotional, and physical state. Some common symptoms are: being unable to focus, loss of appetite, or difficulty sleeping.

Because of this, we may find it difficult to do simple tasks that were once easy to do. You may have been fit and always stuck to your exercise routine, but now, you can’t seem to get off the couch. You may have been efficient at juggling work and family responsibilities, but can no longer do both now. This is a normal response to grief.

This is what is called “Grief brain.”

In response to traumatic events which cause grief, the brain creates connections between its nerves. This strengthens or weakens existing connections depending on the duration and degree of the emotional response – these connections are called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the ability to alter neural connections in the brain. This allows the brain to compensate for grief or life-altering traumatic events. What neuroplasticity does is help the individual adapt to new situations due to their life-altering experiences.

Now that we’ve gone through what happens to your brain because of grief, here are a few ways that may help you cope.

Remember, it is important to be gentle and patient with yourself during these difficult times. Don’t expect yourself to perform at peak level or how you used to before your trauma; it’s okay to give yourself space and time to heal.

Related: What are the Key Signs of Stress Affecting Your Mental Health?

How to Cope with Grief and Help Yourself Heal

Please be mindful about setting expectations that are too high and allow yourself to slow down. Whenever you are able to get out of bed or complete a task, acknowledge that, and recognize that it is a step towards healing.

Unfortunately, there’s no magic tonic that can restore your ability to function when you’re overcome with emotion. But, the following strategies may help you feel more peaceful as you find your way to a new normal.

Here are some things you can do to help with your healing process:

Practice self-care.

When it feels like your world is falling apart, the most important thing you can do is focus on yourself.

Challenge negative thoughts.

We all have negative thoughts; but the trick is not to let them consume you. Ask yourself: "Is this a productive thought? Is it helping me get closer to my goal?"


Our breath is our anchor that we can go back to any time we feel overwhelmed or anxious. When you feel anxious, take a few slow breaths. Breathe in slowly; be sure to breathe out all the way. You can use your fingers to count four or five breaths, in and out.

Related: Does Trauma Really Affect the Heart?

A Word From Wellnite

When going through a rollercoaster of emotions, please allow yourself to take a step back from the overwhelming experience.

Allow yourself to slow down and heal. You deserve it.


Here at Wellnite, we care about your mental health and well-being. We offer same-day doctor consultation, therapy, and medication all from the comfort of your own home!

Your mental health is our priority. Our mission is to make high-quality mental healthcare affordable to everyone.

Our goal is to make mental healthcare accessible to all regardless of insurance coverage or zip code. We believe that people who struggle with these conditions already go through enough. No one needs the extra challenge of facing off with our complex healthcare system.

Your mental health matters.
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P.S.: This blog was created with AI software as a tool to supplement the author, accompanied by Wellnite Staff overview and supervision.
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